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Home Return to Table of Contents: Sources of Financial Assistance for Historic Preservation Projects Federal Financial Assistance Specifically for Historic PreservationGeneral
Federal Financial Assistance Specifically for Historic PreservationGeneral
Save America's Treasures Grants
Since its creation in 1999 in recognition of the approaching new millennium, the Save America's Treasures program has provided $265 million for preservation of historic properties and cultural artifacts. Historic properties receiving funds must be nationally significant and be threatened, endangered, or otherwise demonstrate an urgent preservation need.
The program has funded projects at properties ranging from the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, to buildings on Ellis Island, to San Juan's El Morro fortress.
Funded by the Federal Historic Preservation Fund and administered by the National Park Service (NPS) in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the grants require a dollar-for-dollar non-Federal match. The maximum grant is $1 million, and the minimum is $250,000 for historic property projects and $50,000 for cultural artifact projects. In FY 2008, the program is funded at $25 million.
In the 1990s, funding for surface transportation development in this country changed significantly with passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) and its successor, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) and the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA-LU). These laws placed new emphasis on giving States and communities flexibility to address environmental and quality of life issues, and a lynchpin in this shift was the creation of dedicated funding for "transportation enhancements."
Ten percent of Federal Surface Transportation Program funds are set aside to fund transportation enhancement projects in 12 categories. This has opened up a huge new source of funding for preservation, since these categories include purchase of easements on historic properties, rehabilitation of historic buildings, landscaping in historic areas, archeological planning and research, and scenic or historic highway programs. Projects must relate to surface transportation.
Transportation enhancements funding is administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Between 1992 and 2005, more than $7.1 billion in transportation enhancements money was made available. Within the basic framework of the program, each State decides how it will (or will not) use that funding, and States do not have to spend the transportation enhancement dollars available to them. From 1992-2005, over $1.1 billion was used for historical and archeological projects, making transportation enhancement funding one of the largest pools of federal money for historic preservation.
SAFETEA-LU also requires that recipients of Federal mass transit funding in urbanized areas with a population of more than 200,000 certify that they will expend one percent of the funds for transit enhancements. The funding is part of the Urbanized Area Formula Program of the Federal Transit Administration.
Eligible enhancements include historic preservation, rehabilitation, and operation of historic mass transportation buildings, structures, and facilities (including historic bus and railroad facilities). Projects must be designed to enhance mass transportation service or use and be physically or functionally related to transit facilities.
In FY 2006, almost $1.4 million from this program was obligated for historic mass transit buildings.
First created by ISTEA and extended by TEA-21 and SAFETEA-LU, the National Scenic Byways Program provides technical and financial assistance to help preserve America's scenic roads and promote tourism and economic development. FHWA administers the program and designates roads as National Scenic Byways and All-America Roads, the best of the National Scenic Byways.
National Scenic Byways may be recognized not only for their intrinsic natural, scenic, and recreational qualities, but also for their historic, cultural, and archeological resources. Grants are available to assist States and Tribes in implementing projects on National Scenic Byways, All-America Roads, and State and Tribal scenic byways. Projects that protect historic resources are eligible for grant funding. In FY 2008, $40 million is available.
Through the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, the Federal Government assists States, tribes, local governments, and non-governmental organizations in purchasing conservation easements on farm and ranch land to limit its conversion to non-agricultural use.
The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act, the so-called "Farm Bill," that was signed by President Bush May 13, 2002, extended this program to include farms or ranches containing historical and archeological resources.
Previously, farms had to meet certain soil criteria to be eligible for the program. Now, the presence of historic properties on agricultural lands and a plan to protect those resources offers another alternative for using the program. The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program will pay up to 50 percent of the cost of purchasing a conservation easement or other interest in the land. In FY 2007, more than $48 million was available.
National Center for Preservation, Technology, and Training, an NPS organization,
offers competitive matching grants for preservation research, information management,
and training projects. In FY 2007, over $350,000 was awarded.